Australian job advertisements rebound 16.7% in July - ANZ

SYDNEY, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Australian job advertisements rebounded strongly for a second month in July as the economy re-opened, though ads were still down on a year earlier as Victoria was hit by a fresh coronavirus lockdown.

Monday’s figures from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group showed total job ads climbed 16.7% to an average 104,916, up from a low of 63,565 in May. Ads had bounced 42% in June following a record plunge of 53.7% in April when the first wave of lockdowns hit.

Despite the bounce, ads were still down 34% on July last year.

“The pace of gains slowed, particularly in the second half of the month,” said ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch.

“The second wave of COVID-19 cases and return to Stage 3 restrictions in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire have undoubtedly weighed on the recovery in labour demand so far.”

Economists fear unemployment could spike toward 10% in coming months as large chunks of the economy were shut to fight the virus. Official data last showed the jobless rate rose to 7.4% in June, and would have been more than 11% if not for government measures to limit layoffs.

The ANZ vacancies series is closely watched by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) given it counts actual job ads, while Australian Bureau of Statistics data is based on intentions by firms to hire.

The RBA has slashed rates to a record low of 0.25% and is expected to reiterate its willingness to do more if needed at a monthly policy meeting in Tuesday. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)